Nephropathia epidemica involves several organs including kidney, lung, liver and brain. To investigate the susceptibility of putative target cells to the agent responsible, Puumala virus, we screened established human cell lines of lung (WI-38, A-427, CCD-11Lu), kidney (A-704), liver (Hep G2), pharynx (Detroit 562), submaxillary gland (A-253) and neural (SK-N-MC, SH-SY5Y) origin as well as primary human kidney glomerular cells, endothelial cells and peripheral blood monocytes/macrophages. Propagation of the Sotkamo strain of Puumala virus was also tested in the primary kidney, spleen and lung cells of bank voles (the natural host of the virus). All of the primary cells and most of the established cell lines expressed viral protein, synthesized viral RNA and secreted infectious virus, except the neural SK-N-MC and SH-SY5Y cells. None of the tested cell types except the primary bank vole kidney cells could propagate the virus as efficiently as the Vero E6 cells. The observed host cell range is wide and consistent with a multiorgan involvement of Puumala virus. No cytopathic effects were seen in any of the infected cell cultures.


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